Be Prepared: Make a Family Emergency Plan

Kevin E. Wisely, Commissioner of the Onondaga County Department of Emergency Management, is encouraging Onondaga County residents to make a family emergency plan.   An advanced emergency plan helps your family stay safe when an emergency strikes. Wisely explains, “It is best to involve all family members in your planning and start by having a family discussion about being prepared for an emergency. When developing your plan, families should consider the special needs of infants and young children, older people, and family members with disabilities.’

When making your emergency plan, consider who the plan will cover, what supplies you will need, such as food and water for three days, what accommodations to make for your pets, cash that you will need immediate access to, and important documents (such as financial and medical records) that you should have handy.

Other important factors to consider:

  • Meet with your household members to discuss potential emergencies such as fire, flooding, severe weather, and chemical hazards.
  • Plan two escape routes from your home including ways out from above the first floor.
  • Pick two emergency meeting places. A place near your home in case of a fire and a place outside your neighborhood in case you cannot return home after a disaster. Let everyone know these locations in advance.  Include a way to contact each other in case of delays, but remember that cell and landline phone service may not work well during some situations.
  • Identify safe locations in your home for each hazard.
  • Maintain at least half a tank of gas in your vehicles.
  • Discuss what to do for power outages.
  • Post emergency phone numbers in your home and program them into your phones’ contact lists.
  • Teach your children when to call 9-1-1 and what to say.
  • Instruct household members to turn on the radio for emergency information. Have good batteries on hand to power at least one radio.
  • Select contacts if household members are separated during an emergency. Contacts should include one out-of-state person and one other local person.
  • Keep your important records in a water and fire-proof container.

For more information about how to plan for an emergency, please visit: